The Chicago Blackhawks (14-0-3) defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Friday night to set an NHL record for the most consecutive games (17) to start a season without a regulation loss.
The three previous teams to start a season without losing in regulation through 14 or more games also won the Stanley Cup. After watching the Blackhawks dominate the Western Conference through 17 games, it's obvious that they are the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup in June.
Brandon Saad broke a 1-1 tie in the third period with a short-handed goal, and the Blackhawks played very well defensively to prevent a Sharks comeback in the final minutes.
Patrick Marleau opened the scoring for the Sharks in the final moments of the first period, but San Jose was unable to create many high quality scoring chances in the final 40 minutes.
The loss drops the Sharks to 8-5-3, and they have now lost eight of their last nine games. San Jose is also 0-3 versus Chicago this season.
The Blackhawks' next game will be on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. The Sharks will travel to Texas for a Saturday matchup with the Dallas Stars.
Patrick Marleau at 19:45 of the 1st Period, assisted by Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski
Viktor Stalberg at 16:40 of the 2nd Period, assisted by Patrick Kane and Johnny Oduya
Brandon Saad at 2:24 of the 3rd Period (Short-handed), assisted by Michal Rozsival and Duncan Keith
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs.